After a successful amputation, a new life awaits you. It can be rather daunting having to face the future when you lose a limb. It will significantly affect you in terms of your ability to go about your daily routine, especially your mobility. Furthermore, even if your operation was a success, you’ll still have to undergo certain treatments, such as limb loss rehabilitation. Entering a rehabilitation program after an amputation is important. Its goal is to help you learn to use a prosthesis so you can perform and work as you normally would, as well as help you return to a high level of social integration. Here’s what you should expect when starting a limb loss rehabilitation program:
Collaborative Team Effort
You have to understand that successful rehabilitation is the result of a collective effort. Yes, you aren’t alone in this fight. You need a collaborative team that will help you overcome the situation. Your team will include your family, friends, physician, prosthetist, psychologist, and occupational therapist. You may also work with a physical therapist. All of them play a vital role in helping you overcome the emotional, mental, and physical challenges that come with this process.
Early Stages of Rehabilitation
Soon after your limb is amputated, you’ll have to begin the early stages of rehabilitation. Your physical therapist will play a pivotal role during the first few days. He’ll assist you during the first 24 hours. This includes helping you get positioned on the bed, moving you from the bed to your wheelchair, helping you balance while standing, as well as using crutches, wheelchairs and any upper extremity assistive devices. Aside from this, pain management is something to be looked into during the early stages. Your physical therapist will teach you how to wrap up your residual limb to reduce swelling. He’ll also help you promote healthy healing in your residual limb. This includes dynamic exercises that will strengthen it.
Lower Extremity Users
When it comes to lower extremity users, the primary focus is on lying down or sitting. Along with this is standing, which are aimed at reorienting your center of gravity. Weight-shifting exercises between parallel bars will help you displace your center of gravity forward, backward, and to the side. They will also help you practice putting weight on your prosthesis. Your physical therapist will assist you in putting it on and taking it off. Your physical therapist and your prosthetist will be working together throughout this entire process. In due time, you will be able to carry things, get in and out of a car, stand up and sit down, use the bathroom, and a whole lot more.
Upper Extremity Users
For upper extremity users, the focus is on maintaining or increasing the mobility of your joints. Therefore, strengthening exercises and pain management is crucial during the early stages. Various methods will be used to ease your pain, such as acupressure, acupuncture, electrical neural stimulation, massage, resistive exercise, and ultrasound. Your physical therapist will help you practice using your good hand for daily activities like eating, grooming, using the bathroom, picking up objects, writing, and many more. He will help you learn to use your teeth to carry out some tasks to make your life a lot easier.
It’s worth noting that rehabilitation after a successful operation entails a long-term intervention. Physical therapy is not just for new amputees or new prosthetic users. It has to be performed and evaluated every year or two for the rest of your life. This is to ensure optimum mobility and utmost comfort. In fact, people who continue going to therapy operate much better with their prosthesis. They become better walkers and movers in general. Therefore, a long-term intervention is necessary for a normal life for people with lower-limb disability.
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